6 Great Teachers
These local educators know a thing or two about kids.
Head football coach, Wakefield High School
P.E. teacher, Long Branch Elementary School, Arlington
Years teaching: 13
I teach every student at Long Branch. That’s about 500 kids between the ages of 4 and 12 that I get to see twice a week. By the time they’re in fourth or fifth grade I can read their body language. I know what makes them tick and what upsets them.
My favorite games at school are Capture the Flag and Trash It, which is a combination of kickball and basketball. I play flag football for fun on the weekends.
I spent my first eight years of coaching football at Yorktown. I was also teaching P.E. at Jamestown Elementary at the time, so I had a group of fourth- and fifth-grade students who eventually played for me at Yorktown. That was a great experience. I got to know the kids and their families. Those relationships made the kids more willing to play a tough sport.
There are more similarities than differences between high school and elementary school students. I say the same stuff: Try your best. Worry about things you can control, like your effort and your attitude. We tend to forget that high school students are still kids and they’re going to make mistakes. We assume a kid is more mature because he’s 6 feet tall and has a beard, but he’s still just 15.
I was a quarterback at Wakefield and went to Shenandoah University. I was 22 when I first started teaching. I have more patience now, but I come to work with the same level of enthusiasm.
I grew up in the neighborhoods where most of my players come from—Nauck and Claremont. I’ve walked in their shoes. I’ve been in the same school, had some of the same teachers. I have been on that field. I have literally done what they are going to do.
As a coach, I focus on developing student athletes who are good citizens with strong character. Life is more important than just football. Not everyone can be a pro athlete. We must prepare them to be good, understanding members of society.
–Lisa Rabasca Roepe